Diana Henry's Baked Chicken with Dijon Mustard and Herbs

Diana Henry's Baked Chicken with Mustard and Herbs

Thank you all so much for your incredibly warm and lovely messages! It's so nice to be back and know that all of you are out there still reading.

Today I'm going to tell you about how I deal with the daily grind of WTF AM I MAKING FOR DINNER TONIGHT that makes even the most eager cook a little, shall we say, itchy. I don't know how many of you here are also following me on Instagram, where I mentioned this new way of meal planning back in January, so forgive me if this is a little repetitive, but I really do find it such a helpful way of working through the constant and unrelenting chore of having dinner on the table every evening that perhaps it can be useful to a few of you too.

Here's what I do: rather than sit down and write down a whole menu for each day of the week when meal planning (which was time consuming and eventually felt very...uninteresting and difficult), I decided to assign specifically themed meals to specific days of the week in a much looser fashion. Like this: On Mondays, we eat pasta. On Tuesdays, it's beans. Wednesdays are for chicken. Thursdays are soups or stews. Fridays is for fish. (Weekends are a free-for-all.) What this allows me is much more flexibility and also more rigidity at the same time, but in a way that feels both freeing and safe. Do you know what I mean?

Since Mondays are for pasta, it means that the week starts out very gently. All I need to do is make a pot of tomato sauce, which I could do in my sleep, and some green vegetable (sometimes, yes, it's just a sliced cucumber because I am only human, other times it's steamed broccoli or boiled chard). Dinner is very easy and almost always drama-free, because the boys both eat noodles and everyone's happy. It allows me to start the week off feeling somewhat capable and in control.

Tuesday is bean day and I usually end up making some kind of simple bean situation in the Instant Pot. This recipe (using Rancho Gordo cranberry beans, for example!) is wonderful and Bruno will eat at least three helpings of it. WHUT. I want to marry that recipe. The boys eat it plain or with a bit of bread and Hugo will have some avocado with it. We top it with cilantro and hot sauce and pickled onions and avocado. Sometimes, though, life is too crazy even for the Instant Pot and then I make a red or yellow lentil soup, which takes about 20 minutes and while Hugo will bellyache about it, both kids will usually eat it. (Obviously, it helps if I slice a hot dog into the soup, but I don't always do that because I don't want them to get used to hot dogs on the regular because I am MEAN and also sort of stupid seeing as we live in Germany and they already are used to eating them all the time everywhere gaaaaah.)

Wednesday is Chicken Day. Sometimes I make this Korean chicken, sometimes I make breaded cutlets (but let's be honest, rarely, because that set-up is way too time-consuming and annoying at this point in my life - I mean, keep in mind that unless there's a second adult here, I can't set foot in the kitchen without Bruno behind me dismantling literally everything in sight or physically hanging off of me or Hugo asking if he is finally allowed to watch something NO YOU CANNOT AND IF YOU ASK ME ONE MORE TIME CHILD I SWEAR TO...), but recently I discovered Diana Henry's baked chicken and it is so delicious and so easy and so...satisfying and impressive and perfect that it makes me happy every time I make it.

You make a soft little mixture of Dijon mustard, butter and herbs (she calls for tarragon, but I end up usually just using a bit of dried sage or nothing at all), then squash this all over a bunch of chicken thighs. Then you sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and stick it in the oven until browned and crisp. That's it. The crispy top pleases the children, the herbs and mustard make it sophisticated enough to not give you an existential crisis and it's on the table (from start to finish!) in 40 minutes. (The active time of 5 minutes is fast enough that I can trick the kids into leaving me alone while I do it.) SO GOOD.

It's one of only two recipes actually printed out and pasted to my refrigerator, that's how much I love it. (The other one is for this, but with yogurt/milk instead of buttermilk.)

The original recipe specifies chicken thighs (skinless, but bone-in) and it is definitely the way to go. HOWEVER, because of course, I have also tried this with skinless, boneless chicken breasts and while it's not nearly as juicy and toothsome and rich, it's totally fine. Just reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes and then use the broiler for 3 minutes at the end to brown and crisp the breadcrumbs. (The photos in this post are of the chicken breasts.)

The recipe comes from Diana's chicken cookbook and is definitely, positively, absolutely worth the price of the book. For some godforsaken reason, I only own this book on my Kindle, which drives me fucking bananas, because if I want to cook anything else from it, I have to keep re-entering my password and peering at the phone and then my children see me on the phone and then they WANT the phone and my fingers are dirty and stop screaming and oh my god no you can't have a snack and you can't have the phone and please go play and ten more minutes and I hate everything and I really don't understand why cookbooks even come in E-book form, it's so dumb.

Mustard butter

Thursdays are soup/stew days, which means that sometimes we eat some sort of bean stew twice a week, but there are worse things, yes? Usually it's some sort of puréed vegetable soup and bread. Thank goodness for German bread, which is about 80% of what Bruno eats in total, period. And sometimes, depending on just how much of a surrender week it is, it's the day the boys get pastina in broth (as in bouillon cube or Better Than Bouillon) and I fantasize about being capable of drinking three glasses of wine at dinner (I can't even do one glass, just so you know, which seems really unfair).

Fridays are fish (and frozen peas). Either I stick a bunch of frozen fillets in tomato sauce and serve over rice from the rice cooker, or boiled potatoes if I'm feeling charitable, or it's fish sticks. And then my husband roots around in the pantry looking for the instant mashed potatoes because you can't possibly have one without the other and I decide that instead of dinner, I'm having a bath and listening to a podcast and no, please don't follow me, in fact, forget I even exist, someone else is in charge now good night and good luck.

Please, PLEASE, you well-meaning, lovely, wonderful people, do not tell me how quickly this phase will be over and that I'll miss it one day. PLEASE. I am fully aware of that. As in every day. It sometimes keeps me up at night! It also does not usually make me feel better in the moment. You know? Sometimes you just have to live it and be frustrated and tired and happy when the kids are finally asleep and that's okay too.

Note: This post includes affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you purchase through them, at no cost to you. I use affiliate links only for products I love and companies I trust. Thank you.

Diana Henry's Baked Chicken with Dijon Mustard and Herbs
Serves 4
Adapted from A Bird in the Hand

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
A couple of pinches of chopped fresh herbs (like tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, what have you)
1 3/4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp bread crumbs (from stale, not fresh, bread)

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Mash the Dijon mustard with the tarragon and butter until combined. Put the chicken into a roasting pan (or a baking dish) and brush or use your fingers to spread the mustard mixture onto the chicken. Season, then press on the bread crumbs.

2. Roast in the hot oven for 35 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through. Check this by piercing the flesh near the bone, with the tip of a sharp knife, in one of the larger pieces. The juices should run clear with no trace of pink. If not, cook for a few minutes more then test again. The top should be a lovely golden color.

3. Serve immediately with the cooking juices that have gathered around the chicken.


Yotam Ottolenghi's Turmeric Pancakes with Coronation Chicken and Spinach

IMG_9361

I know. Just the name of this meal sounds fussy as all get out. But actually, it's simpler than you think. And you know what else it is? Fun. Also, delicious! Despite the multiple steps, I highly recommend it for your next eat-with-your-fingers meal. And it's fast enough that you could make it on a weeknight, especially if you're the kind of person who remembers to make the chicken salad the day before. (I am not this person yet, but I am constantly striving to become this person!)

What the meal consists of are soft, floppy crêpe-style pancakes (flavored with cumin and turmeric, which gives them a Day-Glo hue), filled with coronation chicken salad (which is just boiled chicken mixed with yogurt, curry powder and mango chutney, essentially) and some sautéed spinach. Before eating, you add fresh cilantro, shredded coconut and an essential lime squeeze. Roll it up, eat it, done!

Picky children may react suspiciously to the meal at first. If you let them fill their own pancake, from all the little bowls that you have set out containing the various elements of the filling, they might relent in their resistance somewhat. Maybe. Of course, letting them fill their own pancake means they may only eat the chicken salad and the pancake? But so be it! You will be so happy stuffing yourself that you won't even mind.

(Some of these children may be heartened to know that the chicken salad contains no mayonnaise, only yogurt.

(Maybe don't mention the mango chutney?)

(While we're doing this, I should say that you could, arguably, even leave out the spinach entirely. I tried these with and without spinach and give you full permission to skip it.)

(Good-bye.)

Turmeric Pancakes with Coronation Chicken and Spinach
Adapted from The Guardian
Serves 4

For the pancakes:
300g all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 eggs
Salt
600ml whole milk
Vegetable oil for the pan

For the coronation chicken:
4 cooked chicken breasts, skinned and finely shredded (400g net weight)
200g plain whole-milk yogurt
1½ teaspoon medium curry powder
3 tablespoons mango chutney
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon lime juice

For the spinach:
40g unsalted butter, or ghee
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1.5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
300g baby spinach

To serve:
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
A handful of fresh cilantro stalks, optional
30g dried shredded coconut, optional
30g store-bought fried onions, optional

1. Start with the pancake batter. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cumin, turmeric, eggs and a teaspoon of salt. Add a little milk and whisk to a smooth, thick paste. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk, until you have a smooth, fairly thick batter, then refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

2. For the coronation chicken: In a large bowl mix the shredded chicken, yogurt, curry powder, chutney, turmeric, lime juice and a teaspoon of salt, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, and stir in the cilantro.

3. For the greens, on a medium-high flame, melt the butter in a large saute pan for which you have a lid. Once it starts bubbling, add the onion and fry for five to six minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste and a good pinch of salt, and fry for a minute more. Add the spinach, cover the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the water has evaporated and the spinach has wilted/cooked. Reheat before serving, or leave to cool to room temperature.

4. When you're ready to eat: Drizzle some vegetable or olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan on a medium-high heat. When it's hot, add three to four tablespoons of batter and swirl and shake the pan so the batter spreads out evenly over the base in a round. Fry for a minute or two on each side, until golden brown (if the pan gets too hot, turn down the heat to medium). Place the cooked pancake in a warm oven while you repeat with the remaining batter. You should end up with approximately 12 pancakes.

5. To serve, put the chicken and spinach in separate bowls on the table. Place a pancake on each plate, then add a few spoonfuls of chicken and spinach. Top with some fresh cilantro, dried coconut and fried onions, if using, then squeeze some lime juice over. Roll up the pancake and eat.


Suzanne Goin's Roasted Turkey Stock

IMG_7941

First off, an apology. Writing about Thanksgiving in February is...well...not great. But I swear I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't have a very good reason and that reason is this recipe for roasted turkey stock, which is worth every single droplet of sweat, blood and tears you expend on Thanksgiving itself to make the feast. Every time I open my freezer and see the remaining turkey stock I made in November, I feel like I have money in the bank. And there's no reason to restrict the recipe below to turkey - it works just as well with a small collection of roast chicken carcasses.

The recipe comes from Suzanne Goin and is a study in the art of how to build flavor. You start out, of course, with a roasted turkey carcass (first layer). This gets returned to the oven the day after Thanksgiving to roast until it sizzles and is fragrant (second layer). Then you roast vegetables and aromatics in the turkey drippings (third layer). You add a pretty large amount of wine to the roasted vegetables and then reduce that wine until it's syrupy (layer four). At that point, it's time to add water and the seasonings and to simmer the stock until it's rich and flavorful (layer five!).

What results is a golden brown liquid that tastes absolutely amazing, both on its own or in things like risotto or other soups. But the very best thing you can do with it (besides freezing it and being delighted by it every single time you open the freezer, if you're like me) is to make turkey pho. Follow this fantastic recipe by Samin Nosrat, which adds even more flavor to your amazing stock by simmering it with charred ginger, onions and star anise - and copious amounts of fish sauce. Not to mention the fresh limes and bean sprouts and jalapeños and mint and cilantro...

Of course you don't have to wait until next Thanksgiving to try this out - the next two times (approximately, if you're using a 4-5 pound chicken) you roast a chicken, throw the carcass in the freezer. The third time, remove the frozen carcasses and add to the fresh carcass, then depart with the recipe below.

Suzanne Goin's Roasted Turkey Stock
Makes about 3 quarts/2.8 liters

1 leftover carcass from a 10- to 15-pound roasted turkey, preferably including neck, wing and leg bones
4 or 5 onions, peeled and quartered
2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large or 5 small celery ribs, cut into chunks
2 cups white wine
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole arbol (or another small dried red) chile
Kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Using a sturdy knife or your hands, cut or tear turkey carcass into large pieces. Arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast until brown and sizzling, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and transfer pieces to a stockpot. Add onions, carrots and celery to the empty roasting pan and place over medium heat. Sauté briefly, just to loosen the crusty turkey bits from bottom of pan. Return pan to oven and cook until vegetables are browned around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove pan from oven and place it over medium heat. Add white wine and cook, stirring, until wine is reduced to a syrup, about 3 minutes. Add wine-vegetable mixture to stockpot. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns and chile. Add 6 quarts water and place over medium-high heat just until mixture comes to a boil.

4. Immediately reduce heat to low, skim any foam floating on top and simmer, skimming as needed, for 3 hours. Add 1 teaspoon salt and taste. If stock tastes watery, keep simmering until stock is flavorful. Taste for salt again and add more if needed.

5. Strain stock through a sieve into a large container or containers. Discard solids. Let stock cool slightly, then refrigerate. Skim off any fat from the top of the stock. Use within 4 days or freeze.


Lucky Peach's Miso Claypot Chicken (No Claypot)

Rice cooker

I made dinner in my rice cooker last night.

... insert blinking-in-disbelief emoji face ...

Let me repeat that.

I MADE DINNER. In my RICE COOKER. And no, not just the rice, mind you, the WHOLE DINNER.

(Well, except for the salads, but let's not split hairs.)

It may have been the greatest discovery of my year in food.

First things first, do you have a rice cooker? If not, GET YOURSELF ONE WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR FOR THE LOVE OF PETE. I like the Korean Cuckoo brand. (Berliners, the tiny Korean shop on Spandauer Damm just past Klausener Platz sells Cuckoo rice cookers.) My model is very simple - it only has a "warm" and "cook" setting. Nothing special, no bells and whistles. (Unlike my friend Joe's rice cooker, which SPEAKS TO HIM IN KOREAN for crying out loud.) I honestly can't say specifically why I find the rice cooker such a transformative appliance in the kitchen, but not having to worry about getting rice (and other grains) cooked perfectly has actually improved my cooking life in ways other appliances just haven't.

Now that that's out of the way, you can focus on getting DINNER COOKED IN YOUR FLIPPING RICE COOKER WHY AM I SO EXCITED. The recipe I used comes from Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes that my friend Florian loaned to me after I had dinner at his house a few weeks ago and had to restrain myself from swallowing the entire serving bowl of spicy celery salad in front of the other guests' horrified eyes. (While pregnant with Hugo, I craved crunchy, salty things, like tortilla chips and pretzel sticks. But this pregnancy has me wild-eyed over crisp vegetables and vinegar. In fact, I've eaten my weight in salad since May, literally guzzling the dressing out of the bowl when we're done. The other night, I actually found myself drinking olive brine from the jar. SO GOOD.)

The whole book is great -  it thoroughly demystifies various Asian grocery items, the goofy photo styling is funny and refreshing, and it's full of easy recipes for things you want to eat right now. Like "Economy Noodles", a simple Malaysian noodle dish that apparently takes about 7.5 minutes to make, hot-and-sour soup from Boston's Joanne Chang, char siu pork and miso-glazed eggplant (though I have yet to find Japanese eggplant in this fair city of mine), not to mention the spicy celery salad. But the recipe which is alone worth the price of the book is this one, for Miso Claypot Chicken (No Claypot), though of course you can make it in a Dutch oven if for some reason you still don't have a rice cooker. (GET ON THAT.)

For the No Claypot Chicken you make a really simple marinade of soy sauce, oyster sauce (which I replaced with hoisin sauce with spectacular results), Shaoxing wine, miso paste, salt, sugar, pepper and sesame oil. Into the marinade go sliced shiitakes and chunks of chicken thigh meat. While this sits for a minute, you put rice, water or stock and a single ginger slice in the rice cooker, then you scrape the chicken mixture on top of the rice and then put chopped scallions on top.

THAT IS IT! (I still can't get over it.)

One cycle of my rice cooker was enough to cook the meal completely - the chicken incredibly tender and moist, the mushrooms silky and fragrant, the rice sticky and savory and a deep mahogany brown on the bottom. Consistency-wise, it's sort of like the sticky rice filling of stuffed lotus leaves at a dim sum restaurant, and actually flavor-wise, too, except this meal is richer and more savory. We scooped out the steaming chicken and rice directly from the bowl and ate it with the aforementioned spicy celery and a cucumber salad with peanuts and cilantro.

Weeknight dinner jackpot!

Salads

Now tell me, good-people-who-already-own-rice-cookers: are you all doing a collective face palm because you've been making delectable meals in your rice cookers for years and I'm only now finally catching up? If so, what other dinnertime miracles await me? Give me your best rice cooker recipes, please!

Note: This post includes affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you purchase through these links, at no cost to you. I use affiliate links only for products I love and companies I trust. Thank you.

Miso Claypot Chicken (No Claypot)
Adapted from Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes
Serves 4

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon white or red miso
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
White pepper to taste
4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
8 fresh shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced, or 4 dried shiitakes, soaked, stemmed, and thinly sliced
1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 slice (¼" thick) fresh ginger
2 scallions, cut into 1" pieces

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, wine, miso, salt, sugar, sesame oil, and a few grinds of white pepper. Add the chicken and mushrooms and fold to coat.

2. Combine the rice, stock, and ginger in a rice cooker or a small Dutch oven.
 
For a rice cooker: Scrape the chicken mixture and all of the marinade on top of the rice. Scatter with scallions. Cover, start the rice cooker, and cook until the cycle is done. Open the lid and check the chicken for doneness. Depending on your model, the chicken may need a couple more minutes to cook through. If it does, set the rice cooker for another cycle, press start, and check again in 5 minutes.
 
For a Dutch oven: Place over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, until just simmering. Reduce the heat to low and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Fluff the rice, scraping up the crust from the bottom of the pot.
 
3. Scoop out and serve by the bowlful, or eat it straight out of the rice cooker.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Amandeep's Butter Chicken

NYTimes' Butter Chicken

I may have been at this blogging thing for almost eleven (gulp gasp whuut) years, but I have still not figured out how to make gravy look good. In my defense, I swear I wouldn't inflict these photos on you if it wasn't for a good cause, namely your dinner. Maybe even your dinner tonight!

The recipe comes from a "young kitchen hand" at a restaurant in Melbourne called Attica. Amandeep - we are not told his last name, hrmm - made (makes?) it for staff meal. Well, if this is the restaurant's staff meal, I can only imagine the restaurant's actual offerings. It's totally luxurious - chicken bathed in a thick and creamy yogurt marinade, cooked in copious amounts of butter, then finished with heavy cream. Ground almonds thicken the creamy, nicely spiced sauce, which is almost better than the chicken itself. You will want to eat every last drop of it. Luckily, the recipe makes a lot of sauce. (I left out the chiles in the vain hopes that my child would join us in eating this delectable dish, but he was not having it, no sirree, though I will hardly complain about that, because it just meant more butter chicken for me and his father. Next time, ooh, next time, I cannot wait to use the chiles and really let this baby rip.)

The only (other) change I made to the recipe, which really is absolutely perfect as is, was to add frozen peas at the end so that I wouldn't have to also make a vegetable for dinner. Yes, I am lazy! I am also a broken record. Forgive me. (Eleven years, people.)

Butter Chicken

And with that I leave you to your shopping lists and Memorial Day cookouts. But tomorrow, the official cover of Classic German Baking awaits you! See you then.

Amandeep's Butter Chicken
Adapted from the NY Times from a recipe in Eating with the Chefs
Serves 4

1 ½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone
¼ pound unsalted butter
4 teaspoons neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt to taste
cup chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade
1 ½ cups cream
1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds
½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed

1. Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).

2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.

3. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.

5. Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.

 


Richard Olney's Chicken Gratin

Chicken gratin

I have, in my old age, become a real stickler about chicken. Neither of us wants to buy or eat factory-farmed chickens anymore, but free-range, organic ones are expensive, running about €23 for a smallish bird. I just assume that is the cost of responsibly farming animals and don't give it much further thought - we aren't passionate meat-eaters. So we keep mostly vegetarian at home and every once in a blue moon (maybe a handful of times a year?), I splurge on one of those fancy chickens.

Then, though, the pressure of what to do with that expensive chicken descends upon me. After all, I want to eke out every last bit of meat and value from the chicken, but just making chicken soup each time doesn't feel celebratory enough. And there's only so many meals of poached chicken that my family will tolerate. (Although, of course, a baggie of frozen shredded chicken to dole out over several weeks is valuable indeed.) Roasting the chicken is great, but here my competing desire for a crisp-skinned, juicy bird and a clean oven (or a home that doesn't smell like scorched chicken fat) means that I never end up doing it anymore. The slow-roasted method is brilliant for those of us with this dilemma, but its 2-3 hour cooking time means that it can only be a weekend project. You see what I mean? The last thing I want is to be the owner of an expensive chicken and then feel paralyzed about what to do with it.

But! I stumbled upon this wonderful Richard Olney recipe on Food52 last week, which has you brown chicken pieces, fit them into a baking dish and then douse them with an eggy, cheesy custard and cubes of bread crisped in chicken fat before getting baked in the oven until bronzed and let me tell you, if you want to really honor your fancy bird, this is the way to do it. Not only does the recipe result in what is by far the very best gravy/sauce I have ever tasted (AND DID I MENTION THE CHICKEN-FAT-CRISPED BREAD CUBES), but it's actually a surprisingly easy dish for weeknights and an impressive one for dinner parties. The chicken stays juicy and crisp-skinned, and the lemon juice and white wine keep things from getting too greasy. It's no wonder it was featured in Food52's brilliant Genius Recipes column. It is all that and more.

Bonus! This recipe uses a whopping three egg yolks. I don't know about you, but I'm always on the hunt for recipes to use up egg yolks. Savory recipes if possible, because after baking a batch of meringue or macaroons or whatever, the last thing I want to do is make ice cream or chocolate pudding or crème brûlée. There's mayo of course, but there's only so much mayonnaise that a family of three can consume. So on top of being delicious and easy and perfect for these dark fall evenings, this dish will also help you feel virtuous by emptying your fridge of leftover yolks (if you're the kind of person who has them lurking behind the jam jars, like me).

A warning: if you are appalled by curdled things, you may not be a fan of the way the sauce looks. But if you can get over your aversion and simply trust me, I promise that its flavor more than makes up for its looks. If you are not troubled or are even a little enchanted by rustic sauces, then carry on, friend. Good food awaits you.

Richard Olney's Chicken Gratin
Serves 4-6

For the chicken:
One 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-pound/1.1-1.5 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt
2 tablespoons/30 grams butter
1 large handful stale bread, crusts removed, crumbled or cubed
1/3 cup/80 ml white wine

For the cheese custard:
3/4 cup/180 ml heavy cream
3 egg yolks
Salt, pepper
3 ounces/85 grams freshly grated Gruyère
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C. Salt the chicken pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Place the chicken pieces (working in batches, if necessary) in the hot pan and cook until golden-brown on both sides - about 20 minutes, adding the breasts only after the first 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a gratin dish of a size to just hold them, arranged side by side.

2. Put the pieces of bread in the pan and sauté in the cooking fat until slightly crisp and only slightly colored. Remove them from the pan and set aside, leaving behind as much of the cooking fat as possible, and deglaze the pan with the white wine, reducing it by about half.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream, egg yolks, seasonings, and cheese, then whisk in the lemon juice and the deglazing liquid. Spoon or pour this mixture evenly over the chicken pieces, sprinkle the surface with the bread, and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the surface is nicely colored. Serve immediately.


Cooking for Hugo: Corinne Trang's Korean Barbecued Chicken

DSC_5734

Dearest readers, I did not mean to leave you hanging for, uh, almost three weeks. Please accept my apologies and my offering: a recipe for "barbecued" Korean chicken that I discovered in this cookbook that's been on my shelf since 2002 when I found it in the giveaway pile of an old job, but never actually cracked until a few months ago.

I don't know how I landed on this one recipe seeing as there far too many to count in this book (it's sort of overwhelming, actually), but somehow I did and the first time I made it, Hugo ate almost the entire panful of chicken while Max and I desperately tried to pick off pieces for ourselves, fending off the screeching wild animal each time, and every time I've made it since then it's been nothing sort of a roaring success. So. You need to know about this. Consider it my penance.

Continue reading "Cooking for Hugo: Corinne Trang's Korean Barbecued Chicken" »